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The BBC's David Sillito
"This is not the first event to claim farewell to Wembley"
 real 56k

Friday, 3 November, 2000, 09:57 GMT
Sir Elton hosts Wembley farewell
Wembley Stadium
Wembley: Fireworks signalled the end of the stadium
Sir Elton John brought down the curtain on Wembley Stadium on Thursday evening, hosting a charity concert.

The singer-songwriter was joined on stage by Chris De Burgh, Jools Holland, The Bootleg Beatles and Lesley Garrett.

Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John performed at the final event at the home of English football

The organisers hoped to raise 1m for the children's charity NSPCC and its Full Stop campaign.

Brazilian soccer star Pele, who never had the chance to play at Wembley, kicked the final ball in the famous old stadium.

England World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton, boxer Frank Bruno, Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof and Olympic rower Steve Redgrave were among 2,000 guests celebrating Wembley's past.

Sir Elton said: "All the greatest footballers have played here.

"It is sad, very sad, that it is going. It has had so many send-offs but this is the last one. I am glad to be here on the last night."

The event was organised by the FA Cup's sponsors, AXA UK.

David Davies, the Football Association's executive director, said: "It has been a long last hurrah. But I think the last hurrah was tonight.

"Overwhelmingly people will be sad but everyone will have their own individual memories."

Sir Elton John and Pele
Sir Elton and Pele, the most famous football player never to have played at Wembley

The stadium, built in 1923, has hosted many rock concerts.

Most notably, Wembley was the focus for the Live Aid benefit in 1985.

Queen, U2 and Sir Elton John were among those international stars to perform at Live Aid, raising money for famine relief in Africa.

The bulldozers will move in within days to make way for a new Wembley Stadium, due to open in 2003.

Sir Elton is currently engaged in legal action in the High Court in London against a former agent and accountants, alleging they mismanaged his affairs.

The singer claims that he discovered a 20m shortfall in his accounts.

PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Andrew Haydon deny the charge, and the case has been adjourned until Friday.

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See also:

10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton leads Wembley farewell
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton deserts sell-out gig
07 Oct 00 | World Cup 2002
Wembley's sad farewell
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton sues 'trusted advisers'
31 Oct 00 | Football
Barcelona buy Wembley history
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